Title: Wildblood| Pub Date: 2023-02-07 | Pages: 336| Genre: YA Dark Fantasy | Source: NetGalley | Starred Review
I read Lauren Blackwood’s debut, Within These Wicked Walls and loved it, so I was eager to read Wildblood.
This is a tricky book to review. Some of the ideas in this world are fascinating. The sentient forest is intriguing and there was a lot to discover there. It was used very effectively, advancing the plot, adding to the tension.
I also appreciated the magic system and how that connected to the forest.
And I liked Victoria and cared about her. I also liked some other characters and some fared okay, others didn’t. But even that worked for me, because it kept the book from feeling predictable or safe.
There were some weighty themes, and addressing rape and racism is tough. I don’t mind heavy themes. I do think there was a lot going on here, and at times, some of the issues slowed the story. At other times, some of the plot made it feel like we were skimming over the issues.
There’s always a sense of a large group of Wildbloods, but we don’t get to know many. And that keeps us from feeling the full impact of some events in the forest. It’s tricky balancing a large cast, and others may not mind that so many characters are kept in the background.
Sophomore novels are hard. I did like Wildblood and would give it 3.75 stars, which rounds up to 4. A lot of fantasy readers will enjoy this. A successful novel sells you on the author’s next work and I look forward to Blackwood’s next novel.